I am nineteen years old, and I moved to Chicago about four months ago for school. I have consistently been harassed at least two or three times a week on the streets. I don’t wear skimpy outfits, I just dress normally and I am going on about my day when strange men come up to me and harass me.
I was waiting for a bus the other day when a guy pulled up in his car and started calling me “blondie” and kept asking me to party with him. He kept his up for at least five straight minutes, until my bus came. I had a man come up and whisper “hey pretty lady” into my ear a few weeks ago. One man went off on me on a bus, calling me horrible names when I ignored his advances. These sort of things happen all the time, and I am so sick of it. Honestly, it scares the hell out of me, especially when I’m alone at night. What makes me mad is that I’m too afraid to say anything to the men, or to do anything other than completely ignore them, because I’m afraid they’ll hurt me. Every single one of my female friends in Chicago have had similar experiences, mostly on public transit. We all ignore it, because we are all afraid that these men will physically harm us.
It makes me especially angry when people are all around and do nothing to stop it; my friend and I were on the train this winter when a drunk man proceeded to lay on the ground in front of us and stare openly at our breasts while yelling nonsensically. The train was full of people, and none of them did anything to help us, even though we were clearly uncomfortable and freaked out.
Now that it’s summer, I would love to go out in shorts or cute dresses, but whenever I do, I get even more harassment from men. It’s just become a rule to never walk alone at night, to never look at people in the eyes or talk back.
I love Chicago, but the government absolutely has to do something about this problem, especially on the L (the train). That is one place where they could keep women safe, where they could send out security to patrol on a regular basis. Yes, they have a “press for emergency” button, but how long will it take help to get there? Most of the time, the men are gone, or women are too afraid to make a stand. This has to stop!